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News article created on 9 October 2015

Boaters' Update

In this edition you'll find news on the Council elections, boating in Manchester, the Living Waterways Awards, an exciting partnership with the Scouts and new board appointments among others.

Two boats outside Gloucester Waterways Museum Boat trips at Gloucester Waterways Museum

Regular readers will notice something different about this edition. That’s right, it’s the first one to appear on our shiny new website. What do you think?

If you’d like to sample more of the site I’d recommend having a read of Trustee John Dodwell’s blog. As many will know, John’s a keen boater and is out cruising as often as he can and kindly shares his experiences with us (including when the bottom is too close to the top) – earlier this week he blogged about his trip on the Montgomery Canal.

Once you’ve had a gander at the website, make sure you leave time to read this edition, there’s lots going on:

If there’s something you’d like to share with the boating community via this update then please drop me a line.

Happy boating,

Damian

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Last week, this week

Over the last week or so you may have heard, or seen, that:

Before the next edition is published you might like to take a look at some of the following:

Of course, there’re plenty of other activities around the network so please visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.

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Deadline close for Council election candidates

The deadline to stand in the Trust's Council elections is fast approaching. So far 19 people have submitted nominations to stand for election as a Screenshot of Council election websiterepresentative for private boaters but some don't yet have enough sponsors to go through as a candidate. 

So if you're standing, now is the time to rally ten sponsors.  And if you received an email or letter from us about the elections, why not go online to see who has put themselves forward and sponsor any who get your support? The deadline for nominations and sponsoring is 23.59 on Wednesday 14 October.

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Marvellous Manchester

As mentioned in the last edition, we’ve launched a campaign to attract boats (you!) back to Manchester. Although two of the region’s major waterways, the Rochdale Canal and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, were fully restored just after the Millennium, boaters have been slow to visit the city in large numbers.

Boat travelling through ManchesterWith the help of bright, new canal signage, improved towpaths and more regular events, we’re hoping to create a new buzz around the ‘Venice of the North’.

Our local waterway manager, David Baldacchino, gives some context: "Twenty years ago only a few pleasure boaters travelled through the area along the Ashton Canal and down to Castlefield as part of the Cheshire Cruising Ring. Even the buildings used to turn their backs on the city centre canals.

"But the situation is very different now. New developments like Piccadilly Village, the Bridgewater Hall, the Rain Bar and Castlefield positively embrace their lovely waterside settings. As well as the popular Cheshire Ring, the South Pennine cruising ring offers boaters some of the most spectacular scenery in England."

A sign of how times have changed can be found in the Nicholson’s canal guides - In 1993 the Nicholson’s Guide advised people passing through Droylesden:

Be very careful where you moor in this area and do not offer anyone a ride in your boat.

Fast-forward 22 years and the 2015 Nicholson’s Guide now states:

The Cheshire Ring; Then and Now

Manchester Deansgate LocksPart of the journey includes a passage through central Manchester, a pleasant experience these days, but it was not always so...

The problem used to be timing your passage through the city so that the 'Rochdale Nine' locks were open, and your subsequent overnight mooring was a safe one! Local children preyed upon you as you tackled Ancoats, Beswick and Clayton flights, leaping across the locks from one side to the other, begging lifts, and "picking up" anything you might have left lying around...

The lock machinery was stiff, water supply uncertain, and the things which fouled your propeller defied description...

It is, thankfully, VERY different now, and the city passage is very attractive, interesting and enjoyable. Just take the usual precautions.

To help boaters get the most from a trip to Manchester, we’ve produced new guidance on city centre visitor moorings including detailed information on the best locations in Piccadilly Village (East Manchester) and Castlefield. (Downloadable as a pdf from the Canal & River Trust website www.canalrivertrust.org.uk).

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Living Waterways Awards winners announced

The KelpiesThe winners of the 2015 Living Waterways Awards were announced at an awards ceremony held last night in London. We launched the awards in January to recognise the most inspiring and exciting waterway-based improvement projects across the UK. 

The winners, which were selected from dozens of entries by an independent panel of experts, led by Christopher Rodrigues CBE, include:

  • The world’s largest equine sculpture and regenerated canal at the vibrant new Helix parkland project on the eastern end of the Forth & Clyde Canal at Grangemouth
  • Environmentally sensitive flood defences developed at the medieval town of Sandwich in Kent, minimising the scale of hard flood defences while providing a high level of protection
  • The inspirational Row The Erne community project at Enniskillen in Northern Ireland which saw the construction of a 10-man a traditional Irish boat from the Bronze Age, and has led to over 300 local people rowing on Lough Erne
  • The Kennet Project’s painstaking restoration of a historic short boat on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, now visiting schools at Bradford, Keighley and Wigan and other canalside towns along the way
  • The Inland Waterway Association’s hugely successful national campaign to tackle the spread of the highly invasive Himalayan Balsam plant
  • The new Pinkston Watersports paddlesports centre on the Forth & Clyde Canal in Glasgow - Scotland's first and only competition-standard, purpose-built paddlesports venue which has transformed the site of a former power station in a disadvantaged area of the city
  • The transformative restoration of 5km of the Cotswold Canals in Stroud which has meticulously uncovered and archived historical records, heavily involved the local community, attracted inward investment, enhanced the local natural and built environment and improved floodwater conveyance
  • Harry Arnold MBE was recognised with an Outstanding Achievement Award

The winners and runners-up were determined after a series of visits and assessments, which saw the expert judges, drawn from the environmental, engineering, architecture and regeneration sectors, travel from Sandwich to Enniskillen and from Glasgow to Devon.

Christopher Rodrigues CBE, Chair of the Awards Assessment Panel explains: “We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2015 Living Waterways Awards - celebrating and recognising the individuals, communities and organisations that have done the most to make a difference to the nation’s rivers, canals, lochs, lakes, reservoirs and docks.

“These really are incredible achievements and by shining a spotlight on what has been delivered to make the UK’s historic waterways exciting places to live, learn and spend time, we hope these transformative projects will inspire others to embark on similar schemes across the network.”

Full details of the winners, runners-up and commended projects can be found on our website.

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Floating Markets – a successful year

Two weeks ago we ran an article about the last Floating Market of the year in Birmingham. While many of you, like me, just tip up to these markets, the logistics of putting one on take some careful planning as explained by the Roving Canal Traders Association (RCTA):

"We work together with the Trust to organise a programme of floating markets to take place throughout the year - we put in an application to hold an event, along with risk assessments, third party public liability insurance and a request for reserved mooring for a specified period of time.

"All traders who’d like to attend a market can book a slot at any event, using the RCTA website. This allows them to see the programme of events and book and pay for their place at the markets of their choice.

"Then, nearer the time of a market, we will liaise with the local Trust team to ensure all is going according to plan. In the last one, at Birmingham, it was Ian Lane and his team who were very helpful and supportive.

"As the final and largest market of the year, Birmingham Floating Market had 17 trade boats attending. Each one had paid a fee which covers the cost of event insurance and publicity which includes press releases, posters, flyers and social media.

Roving Canal Traders Assocation charitable donation"Funds remaining from the market fees were donated to the Trust; all of our traders use the canal system and many live and work on their boats so we’re happy to support the Trust which is actively helping to facilitate trade on the canals.

"Now it’s onwards towards Christmas and next year."

We, at the Trust, and as mentioned above would to thank the RCTA for the generous £400 charitable donation presented at the last market to our chief exec, Richard Parry (R), and Mike Grimes (L), head of boating.

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Bear spotted on canal

Ok, ok. Not an actual bear with claws and stuff. I’m not even hinting at a cuddly Steiff bear (although I expect there are a few out on the cut).

No, the rather oblique title refers to something much more exciting for our canals and rivers. We’ve partnered with The Scouts Association and its ‘A Million Hands’ initiative to help inspire half a million Scouts to take social action across the country. As chief scout, Bear Grylls, explains in the video below.

Read more about this exciting partnership.

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New board appointments made

As mentioned in previous editions, two directors have announced their retirements this year (Vince Moran, who leaves early next year, and Simon Salem who left in June) and successors have now been appointed.

On 1 December we welcome Dr Sophie Castell as Director of Marketing, Communications & Fundraising. Sophie has a mixture of commercial and charity experience including working with Coca Cola, RNIB and Save the Children.

No welcome necessary for the second appointment as Ian Rogers, currently Head of Customer Services, will become Director of Customer Service and Operations. Ian takes on his new responsibilities on 1 January 2016.

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Bits and Bobs

  • You may remember that in the last edition I asked for questions for Mike Grimes, the new head of boating at the Trust, as I was going to film an introductory video of him. Well, thanks to all those that wrote in – the questions were wide-ranging with everything from dredging and maintenance through to moorings and licensing. Unfortunately Mike was not well on the day we’d planned to shoot the video so we’re rearranging for some time soon – watch this space!
  • And finally, please remember when tying up at visitor moorings not to leave a big gap between your boat and the next – those 30ft gaps all add up to a couple of extra boat lengths at these popular spots! We’re not suggesting boats are nestled with bow kissing stern – a small gap is necessary for anglers and fire safety.

Thanks for reading and happy boating!

Damian

About this blog

The boaters' update

Think of this blog as your one-stop shop for up-to-date boating news. It's packed full of useful information about boating on canals and rivers as well important safety announcements and upcoming events

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